WTF is RXO?


Technology disruption. We hear it a lot, but what does it really mean in the world of work? Pontoon's Tim Meehan seems to have it all figured out, as he nicely lays out in the presentations he does around the globe. Enter Chad & Cheese who say, "We'll be the judge of that."

All the buzzwords are here: AI, blockchain, automation ... and even (lord, help us) TikTok! If you like looking around corners, this one's for you.

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Announcer: Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts, complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up, boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel: Welcome to the Most Nervous Guest We've Ever Had episode of the Chad and Cheese podcast. Welcoming special guest, Tim Meehan from Poon Tang solutions. I got that wrong, didn't I?

Tim: Pontoon Solutions.

Chad: I think that's a rap song, isn't it?

Tim: You guys are a dangerous podcast.

Chad: So Tim Meehan, VP Global Head Emerging Technologies at Pontoon Solutions.

Tim: Thank you. Yeah.

Chad: What does that mean? And for our listeners out there who don't know who Tim Meehan is, tell us a little bit about Tim Meehan, and what do you do there at Pontoon Solutions?

Tim: Come on guys, get it right.

Joel: Getting to know you...

Tim: So I look after our stack of emerging technologies for Pontoon Worldwide, and for those who don't know, we're an outsourcing company that provides both full-time and contingent labor recruitment, outsourcing services. 2000 employees, we're in 110 countries, heck of a lot of clients, and my job is to bring the stack of tools that we spend a lot of time talking about into the client solution set. So basically, I don't touch our ATS or CRM or even VMS. My job is to bring the tools that make the experience working with those crappy platforms much better.

Joel: And you're a Pisces who enjoys walks on the beach, but we won't get into that right now. Tim, so Chad threw me this, I don't know, infographic/visual representation of a speech you gave recently, and it's quite a mess. It's a regurgitation of, I don't know, Hanna-Barbera on crack. Wow, even Chad laughed at that one. So you focus a lot on generations in this imagery. So talk to me about that. Are the generations different? Are they the same? Does it matter? Is it all a bunch of bullshit? What's your take?

Tim: That was an amazing session. We were in the room with half a dozen of our major banking clients from around the world.

Joel: Wow, big room, half a dozen, wow. You're pretty influential, Tim.

Tim: Yeah, there we go. Well, the rest of them didn't come when they heard I was coming. So I had a session where I talked about what might be coming in the future, and how it potentially could impact our ability to succeed. And I actually have four tenets of, I'll guess I'll call them either mega trends or disruptive trends. And certainly generational is one of them, but I'd like to start with the first one, which is the space we talk about, which is the stack we work in, and the fact that experience is the new driver.

Tim: There is definitely the tool set today to bring a talent acquisition experience, be it contingent or full-time recruitment, that is very disruptive. Amazing. I think we're talking about that a little later. And if companies don't have their head on and don't realize that this is real, they won't even make it through the first of these critical disruptive steps, and the first is the stack.

Tim: So, to our listeners out there, if you're not having serious discussion around updating your VMS platform, integrating in chat bots, talking about programmatic advertising, and looking at new career site technology, machine learning magic... If you're kind of like, "Well, we'll get to that," you're already late. So we've got that big factor, and there are some companies, and I'm blessed in Pontoon, we've got a lot of high-tech clients. These are real innovative organizations that we're able to explore that with them.

Joel: So, just real quick, who are the bigger a-holes, Gen Z or millennials?

Tim: Well, as a father of millennials, I wouldn't say it's them, and grandfather of Zs... I don't know guys. They're not. I'm sorry, you're not going to get me to bite on that one. Maybe I'll say I'm the a-hole.

Chad: Xers are the assholes, there we go.

Joel: Gen X. They are assholes.

Tim: That's true, X is... Well, they're the missed generation. So, who knows?

Joel: All right, on to the tenets. I'm sorry about that.

Tim: Yeah. So the next one is generational. And you know, ad nauseam, we all know Zs are the new entrants to the marketplace.

Joel: A-holes.

Tim: But what we have to understand is, you could have a candidate that comes into the interview, 18, 19 years old, that's got three or four blogs running. Maybe they even do their own little side podcasting in some funky thing, and they have a million Twitter followers. And then they run smack dab into your crappy apply process that takes them a half an hour, asks them for stuff they don't have, and then they never hear back.

Tim: And then it's on their Twitter feed, and it's being retweeted, and all of a sudden, there's like 15 million people you don't even know are aware of your process, and it's making it up to the C-suite. And by the way, maybe your applicant flow just crashed. So there's some scary stuff that's going to happen as this next generation of the millennials, we tend... Some people would describe them as the dependent generation. They're not tech savvy, they're just dependent on tech. The Zs, god forgive me, I call them the unable generation. They're unable to understand the tech that my generation built.

Chad: Like wifi. They don't even understand how that wifi thing in the corner works.

Tim: Yeah, I mean it's like 1.3 billion babies have been born since FaceTime came out. So you've got to, you've got 1.3 billion kids that don't understand that the idea of a video discussion is normal. It's innovative.

Joel: It's a miracle.

Tim: It's a miracle. So you get these Zs who are used to like placing an order on Pizza Hut and watching the "when will it come?" Instant feedback, and they've got huge followers. They're going to come crashing in. And the companies that are adapting the stacks are going to capture more of them than the companies that aren't. And I'll even say there are certain industries that are at greatest risk, and it's directly correlated to the companies that, they'll lock down their infrastructure, which I'll talk about in a minute.

Chad: So on the talent acquisition side, though, they haven't given a shit about experience for 20 years. Why do they care now, and what makes you think that you can get them to adopt anything with regard to experience? Because they're so honed in on their routine for the past 20 years, which again sucks.

Tim: You know, that's a great tee up because the story that I tell is not a Pontoon story. There's not a lick of Pontoon sales slick in there. It is all about the trends, and if I could do nothing but get us, as the voices of the tech, and some of our worthy competitors to start discussing these things as a group, then I think, ultimately, the challenge is getting to the C-suite. Because they don't even recognize how at risk they are. And I don't think many of our HR colleagues have the tools to be able to tell the story like we can.

Chad: Where's the risk though? So you're talking about the risk at the C-suite. That is the big key. What is the risk, and what is the reward, which is what they're going to care about the most?

Tim: Let me do the third, and then we'll talk about the fourth, and it all comes together, so if you don't mind... So the third-

Joel: Slow your roll, Sowash.

Chad: Damn it.

Tim: Yeah. So the third disruptor is blockchain. And please don't ask me anything detailed about blockchain. I'm not an IT guy, but I can see... Yeah, that's not me. I can see disruption coming. Imagine a world where in the future, you and I, we all own our background check, our drug screen, and all our employment information, and we can manage it ourselves just like we do our banking account. I can't go in and change my bank balance, but I can sure go in and look at it, and there will be tech coming out that will enable us to control our data privacy and all of our information. And the providers of that certification of this service will be able to have contracts with large employers and small. And basically, if I'm an employer, I can say, "Oh, you're certified by ABC blockchain company. I can hire, you can start tomorrow."

Tim: So start thinking about now I've got this tech that can have a great experience. I have Zs that are going to run to that tech because it's the experience they expect, and now I've got this blockchain thing coming in that can allow instant hiring, and you're going to see the early innovators in talent acquisition, both contingent and full-time, gravitate to these models where I can go out, I can identify, I can take you through my process in a day or two or five and onboard you. And I'm filling jobs in a day, when the old guys are still thinking about 60, 70-day cycle times.

Tim: All those three things combined, and you're going to have that classic innovation roadmap where some company's at the front end, seeing this amazing experience where I'm bringing in people quickly, and I'm onboarding them quickly.

Tim: And by the way, they may even be making decisions at the backend about the employment model, not the front. The total talent concept arrives. Maybe I'm going to be a contractor. Maybe I'm a statement of work provider. Maybe I'm a full-time employee. That actually could maybe be made at the end by the blockchain company.

Tim: All of those things are happening. The losers are knowing they're losing. That's what's going to happen. "I don't understand why my applicant flow and all my ratios suck. What's going on?" And then the C suite is going, "I don't understand." And you know what HR is going to say? "I couldn't get data privacy and data security and our infrastructure group to approve me open up our ecosystem. So I wasn't able to introduce all this amazing tech, because you're too concerned about breaches and security, and you didn't hear the message that I wasn't able to connect to the talent when it mattered. And I couldn't get the funding that I needed to be able to change how we did business. And as a result, gradually, my system died, and now I've got a big problem, and what do we do?"

Tim: And I fear that in some industries that are really locking down their infrastructure, for instance, say, big manufacturing companies that are running their ATS on the same system that they build their cars on, the same underlying... Locking that crap down, right?

Chad: Yeah.